“Real rural history worth preserving.”
City Directories and History: The Blair store, operated very early in the 20th century and began accommodating rural automobile needs of their clients with the introduction of gas pumps in the 1930’s. It was also a rather large mercantile establishment along the railroad and as in many other cases, the store served as a central delivery point, a community gather spot, and a financial source for hundreds of small farmers up and down the Broad River basin.
About the same time Wallaceville was emerging as a community in the southwestern section of the area, Blair, to the north, was emerging as a community between Lyles Ford and Strother. Located just north of Highway 34, near the Broad River, Blair was named for the Blair family, early Irish immigrants. William Blair arrived in western Fairfield in 1790 and Thomas Blair in 1793. Thomas Blair’s son, William, accumulated considerable wealth, purchasing John Means’ plantation home, Fair View, before the Civil War. His son, William M. Blair, established a store at Blair by 1880 and another son, John D. Blair, formerly the postmaster at Strother, served as the first postmaster. Today Blair has replaced all the earlier neighboring post offices as the local post office for northwestern Fairfield County.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
Someone needs to write a book on the history of Blair but where would they begin? The whole story of Blair would have to include but not limited to: The native
Americans, the stories around the Broad River, the old timers lead by Frazier’s, Blair’s, Ragsdale’s, Owens’, & Henderson’s gathering along the shoals in the Lyles Ford area, seining & phone shocking for catfish in order to have their periodic community feast. The store owner’s of that time would contribute supplies & ingredients for community July 4th pig pickins. The history of the original settlement Lyles Ford, the railroad and some unknown people stealing fuzee flares from the little maintenance carts they parked beside the railroad for weekend entertainment, the hobo who killed Sheriff Dickey, the rock quarry and it’s original Swedish ownership. The local kids got a huge kick in hearing the Swedes speak. A hobby of fishing – swimming in the rock quarry for about a decade with my late cousin Michael Plampin, the boll weevil is what put Blair Frazier Company out of business in 1921, the Champion International’s wood yard (my granddad, J.K. Ragsdale managed & retired from) would bring
pulpwood trucks into Blair from miles around, the R.M. Blair store and all of its multiple toilet paper holders in the bathroom to choose from & a sign to just ask if you needed more, Ragsdale’s store – Claude Jr., keeping a mattress in there so he could take his afternoon nap. I remember walking into Ragsdales store many times just to get a cookie out of the bulk cookie bin & saying “just put it on Pop’s account”. And apparently there were two Henderson family stores that I know nothing about. Jack Robinson was the ferry keeper back in the day. SCE&G & their imminent domain over the river bottoms, is large in my eyes. Then we have all the hunters that come in the fall, the Blair Community Library thanks to Frank & Lee Ona, the Blair School of Art, Sheriff Young – his dad Saul, had an ABC store in Blair in the 70’s or 80’s, and mention of the old wagon road are all parts of the community history needing to be explored.
Commentary by Bryan Greer – 3.5.14
Open the MORE INFORMATION link (found under the primary picture), to view an enlargeable, 1896 Postal Map of Fairfield County, S.C.
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